If you have a water leak, or ingress of water at your property, you may be considering making an insurance claim. Burst/leaking pipes, plumbed in appliances, or leaking roofs can be expensive because of the extensive damage they cause. However, there may be a limited amount of money your insurance will pay out for due to the contents of your policy. 

Water leak

First action: stop the water leak!

Before getting your insurance company involved, you should take active steps to stop the water leak itself if possible. For escape of water, the first service you should call is either a leak detection company or a plumber. If the leak is severe ensure you turn off the mains stopcock. Your policy will cover the damage as a result of the water leak, and MAY also cover investigate works required to source the leak! It is important to check your policy documents to confirm if you have ‘Trace and Access cover’.

Your insurance policy and what you are covered for

Before making a claim on your insurance, it’s worth reviewing your policy documents. Your policy schedule will detail exactly what you are covered for.

‘Escape of water’ claims are usually a standard feature of your policy. This would cover any damage related to water flowing within your property. An escape of water can be caused by water leaking from a pipe, tank, or appliance. Your policy wording will detail exactly the causes that your insurance covers.

An escape of water however is different from ‘water ingress’. Water ingress is water coming from the exterior of your property, perhaps from missing or loose tiles on your roof, and this would be classed as a storm damage claim.  

Your policy will normally cover the costs of repairing a roof that has been damaged due to an unexpected event like a storm.  The claim will not be covered if the roof is poorly maintained.  

The risk of ignoring water damage

Often, homeowners discover damp and mould growth in their home, or raised/bowed flooring. It is only on closer inspection, perhaps by a leak detector, that a hidden leak is discovered.

In this scenario, it is unreasonable to expect the homeowner to have intervened earlier. However, if the leak is visible at your property and you choose to ignore it, your claim may be rejected (referred to as repudiated).

Your insurance company will likely expect you to have done everything you can to mitigate the damage at your property. Failure to comply may result in your insurance claim being turned down.

Validating your insurance claim

Provided you are covered, the amount your insurance will pay up to for a water leak at your property will vary. Often, your insurance company will instruct their appointed Loss Adjuster to audit the extent of damage and repair costs. A Loss Adjuster works on behalf of your insurance company; however, you can appoint your own representation.

As previously mentioned, your insurer and their appointed Loss Adjuster will consider whether the leak is from a fixed water pipe or appliance, leaking roof due to storm damage, or the result of general wear and tear or poor maintenance. This may be a discussion that you wish to have your own representation for.

As Loss Assessors, Aspray have helped many homeowners with their water damage insurance claims. As experts in property structure, Aspray work to ensure that a comprehensive damage report will be put forward to your insurance company.

Escape of water is one of the most common insurance claims

Escape of water makes up a third of all buildings insurance claims and is worth millions of pounds each year.

In recent years, two factors have contributed to an increase in escape of water claims. There has been an increase in home improvements and DIY, with people opting to install new water appliances. En-suites, underfloor heating, showering facilities all bringing about more potential hazards for an escape of water to occur.

Secondly, the UK has experienced drastic temperature changes in recent years. With colder winters and hotter summers. Frozen pipes crack because of the expanding ice inside of them. Frozen pipes are also more likely to burst when thawing out as the weather warms up again.

Case Study: Escape of water / Water leak

Unfortunately, this couple in Northampton had a stressful experience on their insurance claim as a result of finding dark marks appearing in their hallway and study.

After sourcing their own leak detection company, they were then told about Kylie Crane’s services at Aspray.

Aspray fully assessed the damage to the property in its entirety. A complete report featuring all damaged related to the water damage peril was created. Thankfully, the claim forward then began to move forward to the reinstatement phase.

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